By Joshua Cooper in Nashville
The Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings series is becoming downright strange.
The reason? The team that has played better in both games has lost. The team that has played worse has won. Now, after Detroit's 3-2 win
on Friday, the Predators and Wings are tied 1-1 heading to Joe Louis Arena for Game 3 on Sunday.
"We were better this game. We didn't score but we had a lot of chances and some of them have to go sooner or later. I think we generated a lot more and had a lot more zone time and there's a lot of positives to take," Predators defenceman Shea Weber said. "Five game series, we played better this game than the first game, didn't get the win so we'll have to move forward."
In Game 1, Detroit fired 37 shots on goal - more than the Predators' 26 shots on goal. In Game 2, it was the Predators who took 26 shots to Detroit's 17 - a low for the Red Wings against the Predators in their post-season history.
And many of Nashville's chances were sterling. Alexander Radulov barely missed on a backhand attempt in the first period and shot a 2-on-1 pass wide. Martin Erat and Andrei Kostitsyn both hit goalposts.
"I didn't think we were as good defensively, and I thought we gave up better chances and we had more puck luck tonight than we did the other night," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "We didn't have a whole bunch of guys that skated in the third period and we allowed them to get going."
A big red flag for Nashville has to be its power play. The Predators were the NHL's top unit with the man-advantage in the regular season. So far in the playoffs, they've failed to convert on 12 opportunities. They had a prime chance at the start of the second period when the Red Wings took three straight penalties. This led to a 5-on-3 for 30 seconds. Nashville couldn't put the puck in the net. Nashville believed their power play looked better in this game, but the bottom-line and the end result was the same.
"That [would] get you right back in the game there," defenseman Ryan Suter said. "During the season, we would have probably buried one and been right back in there. It has to be better and we have to get goals."
Also, both teams' top lines have been held pretty dormant. Nashville's bottom two units notched three goals in Game 1. In Game 2, Cory Emmerton buried his opportunity in place of the injured Darren Helm and finished a plus-2 on the night. Drew Miller also notched an assist for the Red Wings.
"I thought they did good things. They were on for our first two goals, which were really important," Detroit Coach Mike Babcock said. "Their third line go three goals for them the first night. Our group did it tonight, so that's a real positive sort of thing."
By this point in the series, we figured we would have a sense on which team would have the upper-hand. After Game 2, it's an even more perplexing situation. The only answer? Watch Game 3.
"That's just the way the bounces are going," defenceman Shea Weber said. "We were better this game so hopefully that continues into Game 3 as the series goes on." Josh Cooper reports on the Nashville Predators for The Tennessean. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaCooper.
Back to accessibility links